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You make me think of one of Roddenberry's inspirations for Trek (and most of all for Kirk's character,) C.S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower novels. What you say about Sulu being the one Kirk turns to when Spock's not available, specifically, because the dramatic slot Sulu stands in is the same as whoever was Commander (and Captain, and so forth) Hornblower's first lieutenant. Not the first officer (that was often Mr. Bush, the perfect first officer; you see elements of him in all the Trek XOs, but most of all in Major Kira on DS9) but the most senior of the other officers, the one most likely to be springboarded off to his own command very shortly.

Not one of "the young gentlemen," the midshipmen and acting lieutenants either -- Chekov fills that role in Star Trek, I think; still learning, not yet seasoned -- but a tried and ready officer, usually ready to buckle some swash. Hornblower himself was an officer like this early in his career, and we get the impression Kirk was too -- and this may well be why he's so comfortable leaning on Sulu when he needs to.

Lance Mannion

Falstaff, yes! Hornblower! Thanks for piping him aboard! One of the underlying themes of the reboots is that this Kirk was promoted to captain before he was ready. In many ways he's still like the young Hornblower you describe. But in Star Trek: Beyond he takes a big step towards becoming the Hornblower most people know, which means becoming more like the Kirk we know from the original series.

As for Sulu, I was thinking of comparing him to Tom Pullings from O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series, but of course O'Brian was working from Forster as a model.

By the way, have you seen ST:B yet? Now that you mention Hornblower, the jackets the crew wear over their classic color-coded sweaters remind me of Hornblower's and Lucky Jack's blue and gold-trimmed dress coats.

Gary Farber

"The original TV series was cancelled in the middle of its third season, apparently, as I recall, to Roddenberry and his production crew and cast’s surprise despite the show’s plunging ratings."

I'm afraid you recall wrongly. This also is not a difficult subject to find information about on the internet.

The series was cancelled at the end of the second season; after the subsequent letter-writing campaign, it was uncancelled, but rescheduled to Friday evenings at 10 p.m. with a much lower budget, which led Roddenberry to quit and be replaced as show runner for the third season by Fred Freiberger. The show limped along for that final third season and then was cancelled for good at the end of that third season.

When the animated show came along, Roddenberry maintained creative control, but turned over the show-running to Dorothy Fontana. After that, Roddenberry's only creative input into TOS projects was with STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE, which existed after PHASE II's proto-development was cancelled. After that Roddenberry had no control over the TOS movies. Although Roddenberry was initially given creative control over ST:NG, he never wrote another script after the 13th episode of the first season and quit having any active input into the series after the end of the third season. Needless to say, neither George Takei nor Nichelle Nichols was involved with ST:NG.

It's extremely wise, by the way, to take anything said by the TOS actors post circa 1973 about their earlier experiences or so with a great deal of salt. The stories they tell have tended to become more exaggerated with each passing year, let alone decade.

"Roddenberry had plans in motion not just for the rest of the season but for future seasons (There were scripts already written. Many of them were rewritten for the cartoon series."

Well, no. Dorothy Fontana was story editor and Gene Roddenberry wrote exactly zero of the stories and scripts. See the credits here:

There certainly were plenty of undeveloped story ideas and scripts written for TOS and not used, but Roddenberry didn't have any plans for the show after the second season, given that he had, as I point out, quit.

See also:

It's really not a good idea to believe actors' stories about things that happened forty years ago.

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